PU-FF is a patented oleophilic, hydrophobic open-cell flexible polyurethane foam with oleophilic and hydrophobic properties, with density of about 30 kg/m3.
This innovative material, more than 95% hydrophobic, can absorb about 30 times its own weight of various kinds of hydrocarbons (including 10w40 oil, light and heavy fuel oils and crude oils of various API gravities).
Tests have revealed that oil retention capacity is directly proportional to the viscosity of the oil. The material saturates at an extremely fast rate (a few minutes).
PUFF can be reused about 100 times with the aid of a mechanical wringing process performed using special machinery engineered and built by Test1, which allows recovery of about 2 tonnes of oils uncontaminated by water using only about 1 kg of product. The wringing process, even if performed manually and without the use of the dedicated machinery engineered by Test 1, almost completely restores the initial properties of PU-FF, providing oil holding capacity that remains constant whilst the number of cycles increases.
If the clean-up operation takes place in adverse weather conditions, its strong resistance to oil desorption and ability to float (even when saturated with oil) mean that PU-FF can be left in the water even for lengthy periods of time, allowing the foam recovery operations to be performed in safety when favourable weather conditions are restored.
At the end of its life cycle, it can be recycled by means of a regeneration process that avoids landfill disposal or combustion.
The product is not harmful to the marine fauna or flora and is safe for human health. The invention is patented and is registered on the official list of absorbent products kept by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Environmental Protection, as per the Decree published in Official Gazette no. 114 of 19 May 2009 and subsequent measures.
1KG of product adsorbs more than 2Tons of oil.
PU-FF is usable in any basin or watercourse, whatever the degree of salinity or features of the bottom and the currents.
The product’s hydrophobic and wringability features enable all the spilt hydrocarbon to be recovered nearly intact without traces of water. This permits further savings as the economic value of the spilt hydrocarbon is not lost.
PU-FF can be used in any weather, wind or current conditions. The product is tested in water at different temperatures between 4 and 30 degrees Celsius. Its performance in rough seas is also tested. In weather situations that are impossible and dangerous for operators, the product can be thrown onto the spill and then recovered even days later.
Tests in a wave simulation tank have revealed that when waves are present PU-FF absorbs diesel fuel at a significantly faster rate, as in this situation the entire absorbent surface is used and not just the portion directly in contact with the spill. In practice, this characteristic may be vitally important, since it allows clean-ups to be performed even when weather conditions are not ideal.
Left in the water, it retains hydrocarbons for long periods of time.
PU-FF is capable of adsorbing hydrocarbons in a time that ranges from 38 seconds to a few minutes based on the viscosity of the product spilled. This enables the remediation of oil spills before weathering phenomena like evaporation and sedimentation occur.
PU-FF’s effectiveness has been tested on various types of oils and hydrocarbons in variable water salinity and temperature conditions. The material’s absorption capacity improves in direct proportion to the increase in viscosity of the product spilt. Absorbency of about 35 times the weight of the polyurethane itself is recorded in the case of crude oil and 10W40 oil. Using diesel fuel and naphtha, absorption capacity of about 23 g/g is recorded. Absorption levels are lower for volatile hydrocarbons such as kerosene.
Tests with crude oil were performed using products with various API degrees: Green Canyon 254 and C-1564.
Tests were performed with a sample of PU-FF previously mechanically saturated with water. In spite of a longer absorption time (because the oil molecules take longer to substitute the water molecules inside the polyurethane), absorption performances in terms of g/g were maintained.
To conclude, the salinity and temperature of the water do not visibly affect PU-FF’s performances
Included in the official list kept by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Environmental Protection. Prot. 0008228/PMN dated 28/04/15
Industrial patent. Deposit date 26/02/2015. International: 18/12/15.
Tested according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International standards, as required by United States Coast Guard.
Tested and certified by top research laboratories including: CSI (Italian Steel Centre) and Chemiricerche Certification and Testing.
Tested in the presence of Professor Cisneros of the Physics and Oceanography Department of the University of Las Palmas and the Barcelona Port Authority environmental staff.